December 24, 2004

Washington state governor's race still being contested

I know you thought the elections were over for this year, but there is still one race still outstanding; yes even on Christmas Eve.

The Washington state governor's race is still too close to call, and has gone through two recounts. The most recent recount ended yesterday with Democrat Christine Gregoire winning by a mere 130 votes.

A prior recount gave the victory to Republican Dino Rossi, but this recount included 732 ballots in heavily Democratic King County (which includes the city of Seattle) which Democrats claimed were "mistakenly omitted" from the initial counts. The 732 ballots were permitted thanks to a state supreme court decision.

Rossi won the Election Day count by 261 votes and a subsequent machine recount by 42. Democrats paid for a hand recount, which put Gregoire up 10 votes; that lead widened to 130 after a state Supreme Court decision allowed 732 ballots to be reconsidered in King County, a Democratic stronghold. Those ballots had been mistakenly thrown out because of problems scanning signatures into a computer.

In light of the high court's decision, Republicans want the secretary of state to delay certifying the election so they can seek reconsideration of rejected ballots in other counties.

On Thursday morning, Republicans submitted affidavits to King County elections officials from 96 people who voted for Rossi and believe their ballots were erroneously rejected because of signature problems. They say they have identified about 250 such voters statewide.

"We believe Dino Rossi is the legitimate Governor-elect of the State of Washington and we will continue fighting to protect his election," state Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said.

Dean Logan, King County's elections director and one of three members on its canvassing board, said those ballots would not be re-evaluated, because they had been properly considered and rejected.

"You will continue to hear accusations of fraud, of changing rules, of manufactured votes," Logan said Thursday, addressing rumors flying on the Internet and talk radio. "I believe the record shows most of these allegations, if not all of them, are totally untrue."

Adding to my skepticism are images like the picture of the election worker above -- his latex gloves have "GO DEMS" scrawled across them.

We know he's "impartial" in this process, right?

Yeah. Right.

Posted by mhking at December 24, 2004 08:20 AM

As I remarked over at Dean's, I think it would be an interesting rewrite of election laws to include a margin of error provision. If the result after some number of recounts falls within a certain margin of "very close," NOTA (none of the above) is the winner, and the election gets revoted with the two candidates barred from running again. That would be entertaining.

Posted by: Jay at December 24, 2004 12:31 PM

I voted in this wacky election, and I agree. Run it again, without Dino or Chris, and see who wins. Nobody, see.

Posted by: John Slyfield at December 27, 2004 08:27 PM
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